A little-known bit of trivia about our book, Python Web Development with Django: we wrote the manuscript in Markdown. I think it was my idea. One of the major motivations for using a text-based format – versus the unfortunate de facto standard, Microsoft Word – was integration with good developer tools and workflow. Our manuscript and all our project code was in a Subversion repo, so each author always had the latest updates.
Greetings from Boston – specifically, BarCampBoston. My first “unconference”. Nerds galore. The format is (mostly) half-hour talks from attendees on whatever subjects interest them – as long as other attendees have also expressed interest. It’s all tracked on a big board in the lobby. So far I’ve been in discussions involving localization, designing for technophobes, cloud computing, physics simulation in games, and Lisp. The level of interactivity is high – as is the collective expertise brought by the participants.
There are connections between programming and my favorite ice cream. In our new book on Django, I used the sentence “My favorite ice cream is Herrell’s” in some example code where I needed text – a tribute to my favorite local ice cream parlor. Walking by Herrell’s this afternoon, I saw Steve Herrell inside. Because I had a copy of my book with me, I decided I’d see if he wanted to take a quick look at the code snippet.
At the Western Mass. Developers Group meeting this week I showed a few people some of the unixy fun you can have with a (jailbroken) iPod touch and the Cydia package manager. Cydia is a port of Debian’s APT system to the iPhone platform – i.e. it’s a real package manager. It made it a snap to install Python, Mobile Terminal, Mobile Text Edit, Subversion, etc. This is the toolset that has allowed me to even do some work on the book as I mentioned in my last post.
Just in time for Pycon, material from our new book is now available on the Safari “Rough Cuts” service. If you’re a Safari subscriber, or decide to become one to get access to our draft chapters, please check it out and let us know what you think! Reader comments are incredibly important to us. We have a title now – Python Web Development with Django – and we’re even listed on Amazon.
The latest This Week in Django podcast, out today, has an interview with me. I really enjoyed talking with Michael and Brian, and hope I didn’t come off sounding too dorky (or long-winded – I haven’t yet listened to the show, but based on the timestamps in the show notes I could probably use an edit!). I think they do a very good job with the show, and in fact I think that the structure Michael came up with – Tracking Trunk, Branching & Merging, Community Catchup, Tip of the Week – is one that other open source projects would do well to emulate in their news missives.